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Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
N.B.Yomi
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Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby N.B.Yomi » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:16 am

Okay I'm slowly developing a pet-peeve regarding villains, how they're written and interpreted by an audience... Well antagonists in general actually.

As a brony(An adolescent or adult male fan of My Little Pony:Friendship Is Magic) I've noticed an interesting reaction to the Season 3 premiere's villain King Sombra who's introduced as a black magic unicorn king who was kicked out of the Crystal Empire after he conquered it and placed a spell on it that caused it to vanish while he was away.

From the collective statement is that King Sombra wasn't a good villain namely because he he didn't interact with MLP:FiM protagonists in the same way his predecessors had. Which to me translate to that bundle of Bronies being nerds and fans towards other series are used to villain to consistently interact with the protagonist tripping them up every step of the way, thus when a villain like Sombra comes along, he's not deemed a good villain because he breaks that mold.

For those of who don't know King Sombra does the following:

1. He conquered The Crystal Empire, enslaving the Crystal Ponies.

2. He hides the Crystal Heart in a hidden chamber that leads to a magical door that will run from you if you try to open it. And if you open it with Black Magic or at all, you're struck with an illusion that causes you face your worst fear for all eternity. If you open it with "White magic" you can progress to a stairway that leads to an open window room where the Crystal Heart resides. This room also possesses a "trip wire" that once activated will trapped you in an inescapable black crystal prison.

3. Prior to His defeat at the hooves of Princess Celestia and Luna, Sombra cast a spell on the Empire that caused it to vanish until he was strong enough to leave his prison, thus it reappeared in the Arctics where he was imprisoned, so he could get to it quicker.

4. Upon his arrival, he disables Shining Armor's magic, and puts a strain on Cadance by using his magic to overpower her as she's weakened from keeping her barrier up for roughly over a few days to keep Sombra out since he himself is very weak.

King Sombra in a lot of ways is a tactician, but the way his bout with the protagonists. He in a lot of ways it like the final boss of a video game like God Of War 1, Heavenly Sword, or Jak II, where you know he's there, he interacts loosely with the protagonist until you face and beat him in the final level.

My point being, while there are a myriad of ways to write a villain and antagonist in fiction, I'm left with the impression that a lot of people nerd or otherwise prefer their villain to be like the aesthetic of The Joker from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight: A psycho who likes destroying everything around him, while battling the hero on occasions. Any villain that does otherwise is "not a good villain who does or did nothing." And I wanna see if I'm wrong.

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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby jaus tail » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:15 am

A villian doesn't enjoy creating mayhem He does it because it comes in the way of his goals. The joker wants to prove that anyone can go insane when triggered with the right situation/emotions.

What exactly do you mean by, Any villain that does otherwise is "not a good villain who does or did nothing."? What else does a villian do?

The level of hatred/awe one has for a villian varies from joker to wilhelmina(ugly betty) to a serial killer(in crime show), voldemort to big bad wolf. It depends on the author. If he wants the audience to hate his villian, then he'll make the villian do such acts. Octopus and sandman from spiderman, magneto from x men create more mayhem than joker but the number of fans joker has outnumbers them combined.
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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby LMGilbert » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:46 am

Wow. It's not the My Little Pony I remember! I thought there weren't any villains, just mistakes and misunderstandings overcome by darling friendly little ponies? It's going to take me awhile to get my head around this...

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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby LMGilbert » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:00 am

It gets worse! You're telling me the world of My Little Pony is now a frickin hierarchical Monarchy?? What happened to each and every little pony having a unique gift or talent that she contributes to the beauty & fun of Pony-ville? I don't like this. I don't like it at all. I don't want little girls having to buy into all this "life is a constant struggle between good and evil, and we will tell you who's good & who's evil" crap at the age of 3 or whatever. See, this is what happens when DUDES come along and take over a good, cute thing.... ;)

Note about Nerds and their villains: in many cases, such as Pokemon with Team Rocket ("Prepare for trouble -- make it double!")and Star Trek TNG with Q, the villains have a humourous edge,and in the case of Team Rocket, supply more comic relief than danger. The bad guys are greedy in this case, but completely inept in their attempts at trouble-making. But I notice as a trend in keeping with what you reveal about My Little Pony, even Team Rocket has become a shade "darker" in their schemes and their presentation.

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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby Anya Kylash » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:41 am

*has only watched one episode of My Little Pony*

Actually, that villain sounds pretty epic, despite the fact that there are so many horses and ponies running around with their heads full of fluff.
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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby Laycrew » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:02 pm

My daughters were explaining what a Brony is to my husband earlier this week. My teenage girls watch "My Little Pony" on Netflix still. :D

I think it all depends on how much attention you use to build your antongonist. Some are cliche but the best have been fleshed out more as characters rather than just pure evil to serve as conflict in a story.

Even in Harry Potter they explored Voldemort before he became what he was. That can bring more complexity to your antangonist. And Draco even had a few moments where I felt sorry for him. Snape wasn't as evil as I thought all along. He was very complex and it threw me for a loop when I found out Snape had some genuinely good qualities in him.

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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby N.B.Yomi » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:02 pm


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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby jaus tail » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:42 am

Dude vegeta was the best villian of DBZ era. he's like aargh and what makes him great is his pride and belief that he's the best, frieza is just a lazy jerk who sits on a fancy scooter for a major part while they are in namek, i found dodoria cooler than him.
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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby N.B.Yomi » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:26 pm


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Re: Writing Villains Your Way... And how others view him/her

Postby jaus tail » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:02 pm

If there any dbz char i could be, it would be recoome from ginyu force. He's weaker than frieza but he gets his hands dirty. His fight with vegeta was awesome. He's powerful and arrogant. Frieza is just lazy, very lazy. He is strong but doesnt toy with his opponents in the same manner as recoome boom or saiyan vegeta.
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